Joe Baker is an Arizona-based guitarist and singer performing 1920’s jazz, western swing, blues, and early country. Raised in Sedona, Joe first cut his musical teeth with a set of drum sticks, solidifying the deep-seated rhythm you hear in his music today. As he continued his early musical explorations, Joe got hooked on guitar and vocals and quickly dedicated his focus here at age twenty. Not long after, Joe moved to Portland, Oregon where he thrived playing the local club scene with his unique blend of blues and country-influenced rock, punk, and indie.
By the mid-2000s, Joe’s musical interests had honed in on early jazz, influenced by artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bessie Smith. This resulted in the formation of his first trad-jazz-meets-country band, The Barefoot Brakemen, and their release of the 2007 album, “Shook, Broke, Hung.” As his captivation with early jazz continued, 2014 saw the collaboration with singer Joy Pearson to form the wildly popular High Water Jazz Band, playing throughout the Portland area and with appearances at the Waterfront Blues Festival, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, and Alberta Rose Theatre.
After a few years Joe again felt the urge to sing as well as explore new musical directions. This led to the formation of The Kitchen Men, with regular monthly slots at the local honky-tonk, The Landmark Saloon, and cemented his ideas for the range of material you hear today – original renditions of classics with underpinnings from the earliest days of jazz to Hank Williams-era country.
Nearing the end of his time in Portland, Joe appeared with Thee Carney Bakers, a 1920s jazz band co-led with legendary saxophone player Ralph Carney (Tom Waits).
Joe returned to his beloved Arizona in 2017 and quickly put together both the 7-piece The Jumpin’ Cholla Band and the 3-piece Joe Baker Trio, opening for such national acts as Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Petunia & The Vipers, and Tav Falco.
Joe can also be found playing in the old-time country duo, Camp & Baker, led by fiddler/vocalist Carolyn Camp (Pick & Holler). Formed in 2018, the pair continues to perform throughout Arizona.
During the radical changes to the live music scene brought on by COVID, Joe took the opportunity to develop his solo act which now keeps him on the road, playing venues all over Arizona and the Southwest.
Take a listen to Joe’s newest 2022 solo releases, “Sugar Blues” and “Some Of These Days”, available on all digital platforms.